Celebrate the season at Covent Garden Christmas Market, London’s epicentre of winter festivities. In this updated guide, find everything you need to plan your visit: confirmed 2023 dates, opening times, and the best of what to expect are detailed below.
Covent Garden Christmas Market 2023
The Covent Garden Piazza dazzles with festive lights, modern decorations, and an iconic Christmas tree.
Choirs and street performers create a lively atmosphere, complemented by the market’s selection of artisanal food from around the world.
Discover boutique brands, bespoke stalls and the artsy Apple Market, all wrapped in Covent Garden’s unique late-night energy.
Dates and Information
Covent Garden Christmas Market dates: 7th November 2023 to 3rd January 2024.
Location: Covent Garden Piazza.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday: 10am to 9pm. Sunday: 12pm to 5pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights: Switch on date: 7th November 2023 at West Piazza from 5:15pm.
Christmas Sandwich Festival: 7th to 17th December 2023, between the Market Building and Seven Dials.
Christmas sleigh: Photos from 9am to 9pm (no Santa appearance).
Ice skating: No.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten-free: Yes, plenty of options.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: The 60-foot British grown Christmas tree is decorated with over 30,000 lights, unique luxury gifts, lively street performances.
Recommended tour: West End music and historic pub experience.
Specialities: Freshly baked mince pies, traditional Christmas pudding, unique flavoured chutneys, plant-based meals, craft drinks.
Where to stay: The Henrietta Hotel is located just across from the Piazza.
You’ll find many hotels in this area that cater to various needs and budgets, providing easy access to the market and surrounding attractions.
I recommend the Henrietta Hotel, known for its beautiful rooms and exceptional location, which puts everything at your doorstep.
To expand your London festive experience, check out my extended guide. You’ll see I mention Covent Garden as the best London Christmas Market 2023, but I’ve gathered information on several other markets around the city to help you plan a well-rounded trip.
After exploring London, don’t miss the chance to travel elsewhere in the UK with my detailed guide to the best Christmas markets UK. It’s not too late to start planning.
Christmas in Covent Garden
Mulled Wine: The Covent Garden market vendors carefully prepare this festive drink, infusing red wine with various mulling spices, citrus fruits, and sugar. The result is a warming, aromatic drink that pairs perfectly with the festive atmosphere.
Vegetarian Sausages: For those following a plant-based diet, numerous stalls serve vegetarian options.
Vegan Chocolates: Catering to the increasing demand for vegan treats, you’ll find stalls selling vegan chocolates. These are made using plant-based ingredients but do not compromise on flavour or texture. It’s ideal for those who adhere to a plant-based diet or for anyone want to try a lower impact sweet treat.
Pretzels: Although not uniquely British, pretzels are common at many markets across Europe. Twisted into their distinctive knot-like shape, these chewy, baked items are often sprinkled with coarse salt.
Hot Chocolate: To ward off the winter chill, some stalls serve Fairtrade and organic hot chocolate. Whether you prefer it topped with whipped cream or a simple, rich cocoa, the hot chocolate here is a treat.
Ben’s Cookies: This cookie shop is famous for its chunk-laden cookies. At this time of year, they introduce a festive twist to their menu, with flavours such as spiced orange chocolate chip or cranberry and white chocolate.
The Apple Market: This permanent fixture in Covent Garden is known for its artisanal food stalls. Vendors sell holiday-inspired treats like gingerbread cookies, festive preserves and spiced nuts.
Neal’s Yard Dairy: An icon of Covent Garden, this cheese shop has some gift cheese boards and unique winter cheese selections.
Petersham Nurseries: While primarily a garden centre, Petersham Nurseries also houses a gourmet deli and wine shop.
Roast Chestnuts: As you wander through the stalls, you’ll likely encounter the aroma of roasting chestnuts. These treats, gently heated over a charcoal fire, are a seasonal classic. Cracking open the slightly charred exterior reveals a soft and sweet interior, serving as a satisfying and warming snack during your visit.
Mince Pies: These traditional British pies are a festive staple, and Covent Garden serves up gourmet version. Each mince pie is filled with dried fruits and spices, enclosed within a crumbly buttery pastry.
What to Buy
Ornaments: This is the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind ornaments. Many of these are handmade by local artisans and feature traditional British designs. You can find decorations made from interesting materials, including glass, wood and metal. These make a beautiful addition to any Christmas tree or can serve as a special holiday gift.
Luxury British Beauty Products: Known for its high-quality cosmetic and beauty stalls, you can find locally made beauty products that make perfect stocking fillers. Brands like Molton Brown or Neal’s Yard Remedies often have special Christmas gift sets with top-selling products.
Tea Blends and Sets: Several vendors and shops in the area sell luxury tea sets. These can range from classic British favourites like Earl Grey to unique blends like spiced apple and cinnamon.
Artisanal Foods: You can find a variety of artisanal foods that are great gifts. Options include flavoured gin from London distilleries, jars of luxury preserves, and festive hampers packed with local goodies nearby shops.
Christmas Jumpers: No British Christmas is complete without a festive jumper. Several stalls sell these from traditional patterns to ones featuring humorous holiday puns.
Moomin Shop: This shop is dedicated to the beloved Moomin characters from Finnish literature.
For specific details tailored to your visit, you might want to look at Visit Covent Garden; their resourceful platform can guide you through activities, from cultural sightseeing to unique events, ensuring you make the most of your stay in this vibrant part of London.
While soaking up the activities we can do so more sustainably. Here’s a few ideas:
Staying in Eco-friendly Hotels: If you’re visiting London, it’s a good idea to stay in hotels that actively pursue sustainability. For instance, one that uses renewable energy sources.
Reducing Food Waste: The temptation at this time of year is to overindulge, but remember only to order what you can eat. Many food stalls will serve smaller portions upon request, helping to minimise waste.
Ethical Consumption: Be active in only purchasing items you genuinely need or will use.
Sustainable Diets: Order plant-based or vegetarian options where possible to reduce your carbon footprint. The market often features many vendors prepraing plant-based foods, like the Gourmet Vegan Stalls, providing delicious meat-free alternatives.
Sustainable transport: Covent Garden is well served by public transport, with nearby tube stations and numerous bus routes passing through. Consider using these methods to get around rather than relying on taxis or rideshares. Alternatively, Covent Garden is centrally located, making it an easy and enjoyable walk from many other popular London destinations.
Covent Garden can be very busy at the Christmas and over New Year’s, especially on weekends and in the evenings. However, the festive atmosphere and beautiful decorations make the experience enjoyable despite the crowds.
Covent Garden often hosts other Christmas events, from the famous annual switching on of the lights to live performances and carol singing.
Absolutely! Covent Garden is a wonderful experience for the whole family. The market is full of festive cheer with street performers, traditional food stalls, and plenty of child-friendly activities to entertain the little ones. Take a family photo sitting on Santa’s Christmas sleigh.
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Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Covent Garden, London. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.